The Best Way to Research a Company for a Job Interview

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Before you go on a job interview, it's important to find out as much as you can about the company. That way you'll be prepared both to answer interview questions and to ask the interviewer questions. You will also be able to find out whether the company and the company culture are a good fit for you.

Take some time, in advance, to use the Internet to discover as much information as you can about the company.

Spend time, as well, tapping into your network to see who you know who can help give you an interview edge over the other candidates. Here's how to research a company.

Tips for Researching Companies Before Job Interviews

Visit the Company Website
Start by visiting the company website. There, you can review the organization's mission statement and history, products and services, and management, as well as information about the company culture. The information is usually available in the About Us section of the site. If there's a Press section of the website, read through the featured links there.  

Browse Social Media
Next, check the company's social media accounts. Visit their Facebook, Google+, Instagram, and Twitter pages. This will give you a good sense of how the company wants its consumers to see it. Like or follow the company to get updates. You'll find information you may not have found otherwise.

Use LinkedIn
LinkedIn company profiles are a good way to find, at a glance, more information on a company you're interested in. You'll be able see your connections at the company, new hires, promotions, jobs posted, related companies, and company statistics. If you have connections at the company, consider reaching out to them - not only can they put in a good word for you, but they may also share their perspective on the company and give you tips that will help you ace the interview.

 

As well, take a look at your interviewer's LinkedIn profile to get insight into their job and their background.

Get an Interview Edge
Glassdoor's Interview Questions and Reviews section has a goldmine of information for job seekers. 

You can find out what candidates for the positions you are interviewing for were asked and get advice on how tough the interview was. Use reviews to help get a sense of company culture. That said, take them with a grain of salt - employees are often most likely to leave reviews when they are unhappy. As you read reviews, look for repeated themes. The more mentions a given subject gets (whether it's praise for flexible hours or frustration with senior management) the more likely it is to be accurate. 

Use Google and Google News
Search both Google and Google News for the company name. This can be really invaluable. You may find out that the company is expanding into Asia, for instance, or received a round of start-up funding. Or, you may find out that a recent product underperformed or had to be recalled. This knowledge can help shape your responses to interview questions. 

Tap Your Connections
Do you know someone who works at the company? Ask them if they can help.

If you're a college grad, ask your Career Office if they can give you a list of alumni who work there. Then email, send a LinkedIn message, or call and ask for assistance.

Get to Know the Industry and Competitors
As well as researching the company, it makes sense to review the overall industry. If you're interviewing for a job at a mortgage company, for instance, it's helpful to be informed about current home ownership trends. Get to know the company's biggest competitors and identify their successes and flaws, too. Insight into the company's industry and rivals is bound to impress interviewers. 

How to Use This Research During Interviews 

During a job interview, interviewers ask questions to get to know candidates. But their main goal is to determine if a candidate will be a good fit for the position and company.

Your company research will make your responses to questions compelling and show that you'll be helpful to their goals and bottom line. 

Plus, your knowledge will help you give a specific answer if you're asked why you'd like to work for the company. You can share details about things you find admirable about the company, its mission, or its culture. 

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